Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Six hours in London

We leave Egypt in about a week and a half. On the way back to Ithaca, we have a layover in London that should allow us to spend about six hours in the city. Jeremy and I have gone into London before on a layover so we know the drill with the tube and the HobNobs and the prices that look about right until you realize they're in pounds not dollars, etc. This time around, I think we want to visit the Tower of London. Has anyone been there and loved/hated it? Anything we should know that isn't on their official website? (But I am already well versed in everything Alison Weir has ever wrote on the subject, thanks.)

Is the London Eye worth it? There is a 4.5-year-old in the house who loves Ferris Wheels.

And in case we have some extra time, does anyone know of a park near the Tower, or near another tube stop, where the kids can run around like crazy before we get back on a plane to cross the Atlantic?


shabba shabba said...

Oh fun. I know nothing about London. When will you be laying over? I'll be hanging out at Heathrow on 2-3 August. Maybe I'll see yous.

Scotty P said...

I recommend going to the hotel the Palmer men stayed at in 2006 for a fine dining experience. Also, just a warning: the phones there eat your money with no result.

Bridget said...

We'll be there the 1st. Scotty, I had totally forgotten about that and now I can't stop laughing.

AmandaStretch said...

I LOVED the Tower. There is so much to see and do there, which you've probably gathered by now. There's even some running around space outside for the girls if you don't make it to a park. I can't think of anything that isn't on the website, but I do remember that everyone there was super friendly and happy to share stories and history.

Looks like the closest park is in Southwark, which isn't tube accessible and is about a mile away. Or, you can take the tube for 20-30 minutes to Kensington Gardens/Hyde Park. It's pretty huge, so there are several stops right around it, but Hyde Park Corner is the absolute closest. It's right on the Picadilly Line, which you'll need if you're flying out of Heathrow. Or, you can stay on the Circle or District Line from Tower Hill to High Street Kensington, get some lunch there (there's a Wagamama in that neighborhood and at 22 Old Broad Street, London EC2N 1DP near the Tower), then walk down the park, which isn't very far. You'll come very close to my old flat on that route. :)

I never did the London Eye, because it didn't seem worth it to me, and I've heard mixed reviews from those who did. I got a pretty great aerial view of the city from the top of St. Paul's Cathedral, and that was satisfactory.

Most of all, enjoy! Let me know if you have any other questions/need clarification.

lyse. hi. said...

so i went to the tower of london in sixth grade and thought it was pretty awesome. they had little reinacters that told stories about some of the history and the told us where the expression upper crust came from! So cool!

I remember thinking about the london eye and we decoded not to go because it seemed like a bit of a rip off. but that was just the cook family.

have fun!

Suzanne Bubnash said...

My only visit to the Tower was 1976. It was worth it, but how do you explain all that to little kids? I think that's where we saw the crown jewels, which the girls would like.

Louai said...

My advise if you have exactly 6 hours, is to start from embankment station, heading to London eye, I have been in London for two years and this is the most exciting thing i've ever done...but god you have to check it carefully especially if they have already have a long cue, i waited for about 2 hours then another 50 min is the estimate of the sky journey (of course when you reserve your ticket ask for the free 4d tour), so if you dont find it busy enjoy it then move quickly back to embankment pier where you can get a ferry (you can still you use your Oyster card pay as you go) towrds the tower where you can spend a plenty of good time there. Regarding me i love historical sites and old buildings especially at that place.. oooops i remember dont forget to cross the Thames to the other side and take some photos to HMS belfast directly in front of Major of London fabulous spiral building!!

I dont think after that you will find enough time!!! but if you need to experience a truly English park go to St. James park not that close but this is one of the closest to this point and you will really enjoy it!
If you like you can start from St. James park then walking to Embankment and then go straight to the tower..

Susanne said...

I asked a few friends who either live near London or may have traveled there. One friend from Scotland sent this:

"Sorry, I am not very familiar with London! I remember that I enjoyed St Paul's cathedral when I was a kid. There is a whispering gallery where you can whisper facing the wall and someone else can hear it further down the wall. Also, a few years ago I took a Docklands Light Railway (DLR) train to Canary Wharf which was a really cool ride through all these skyscrapers, like travelling through a glass jungle. :) But the ideas she has are probably good."

Susanne said...

Oh, another one JUST sent this:

"If I were in this family's place I'd go straight to the British Museum, but with a small kid they might want to go to Hyde park or the famous London Zoo?"

Bridget said...

Wow, I need to put out requests like this more often because this is super helpful. Thanks!!!

Suzanne Bubnash said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jennifer said...

I thought the London Eye was cool, but Louai is right, the line can get long. I don't know what time of day you'll be there, but we did it at sunset and that was cool.

Your mom also has a point about the tower--there's a lot of emphasis on who died and how. It is interesting though.

I love London and am jealous you get to be there for a few hours!

Anonymous said...

Although pricey, I would advocate taking the Heathrow Express into Paddington (15mins) rather than the tube into town (1hr 20 min at least, see for tube journey planner)otherwise you will run out of time. Paddington is also about 10 mins walk from Hyde Park if required. I can't say much about the tower (went once as a child and can't really remeber it) but there is green space and it is right by the river. I would recommend the British Museum, which is fabulous and there is green space about 5 mins walk away at Russell Square. When I was younger, I thought the Science Museum rocked as it has so much stuff for kids and is only in South Ken. Alternatively, you could do the London Eye (book online) and then take a boat up the Thames to the Tower, goes past a lot of the major sights and a breeze is always a winner. Enjoy!


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